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KWS adopts new policies to fight corruption

Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala and KWS Director General John Waweru during the launch of a new report on Monday./ COURTESY.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has emphasised the need for the operationalisation of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) code of conduct, Service Standing orders, and disciplinary code to enhance efficiency and curb graft in the wildlife sector.

The CS, who spoke on Mondy during the launch of the KWS Corruption Perception and Experience Survey report, also underscored the need for mainstreaming corruption prevention in KWS training institutions for long-term gains.

“We are closely working with the board and management to see the value of the fight against corruption,” he said during the ceremony held at the iconic Ivory Burning Site in the Nairobi National Park.

Balala said the war on corruption can only be won with robust engagements supported by stakeholders.

KWS Director General John Waweru assured of the institution’s commitment to implement the policies of the report launched during the International Anti-Corruption Day.

“I want to assure you [that] KWS will keep the issue of preventing corruption within wildlife authorities high on policy agenda and priority as well as spearhead all efforts towards ultimate goal on zero corruption within the service,” Waweru said.

He lauded the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their support to the organisation in fighting corruption and implementing other policies aimed at ending poaching and other threats to wildlife.

“Our challenge in discharging our mandate as provided for in the law will never diminish. We must, therefore, continue to mobilise for more resources to achieve this goal,” he said.

KWS Board Chairman Dr John Waithaka said the new code is aligned to the government’s requirements in professional ethical behaviour as outlined in the Constitution.

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“The KWS Board is committed to ensuring that all our activities are conducted in an honest and ethical manner,” he said.

The report unveiled on Monday aims at ensuring a sustained fight against corruption, through continuous sensitization capacity building for the Board of Trustees, employees.

European Union (EU) Representative Myra Bernardi and US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs official Heather Merritt reiterated their organizations’ support for the KWS.

“Corruption is the critical link that enables wildlife trafficking and organised crime to flourish,” Merritt said, and warned that “corruption is diverse and adaptable, evolving to exploit systemic or institutional weaknesses.”

US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs representative Heather Merrit with KWS officials in Nairobi. /COURTESY.

According to last year’s report from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, corruption accounts for at least $2.6 trillion, or an astonishing 5 percent of the Global GDP.

“That is 5 percent of global GDP that is moving outside of normal channels, robbing citizens around the world of their basic rights and hard-earned income, facilitating terrorism, and enriching transnational criminal organisations,” she said and lauded KWS “for efforts in improving internal controls and corruption prevention.”

The initiative will establish ethical and moral obligations through policies, procedures and processes in order to curb corruption and dishonest practices for proper resource utilisation.

Waweru said the reforms will assist in addressing the challenges of governance, poor economic performance and inefficiencies within the organization.

The Board of Trustees and management has assured that no employee will be victimized for reporting actual or perceived corruption activities provided the reporting is done in good faith on reasonable grounds.

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